Category Archives: Poetry

At Home—Balance With Focus

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

while your feet keep the board balanced on its single, central roller. Some jugglers and acrobats use this technique all the time. And so do writers and other creative artists. Personal teeter-totters are tricky.

Back in the day, I could standing on that rolling board indefinitely and never need to think about what I was doing. The virtual equivalent isn’t always as easy. The reason is simple.

We’re constantly bombarded by more and more extraneous gibberish vying for our attention, demanding we focus on it instead of our desired focal point.

Take this last two weeks, for instance. I needed to concentrate on doing a full revision on the first volume of my Wisher’s World Series. I had my calendar set up to allow for submissions, revision time, and a bit of down time to decompress.

Then, WHAM, every distraction, unimportant call to action, and personal ‘need’ descended to throw balance out the window.

Sudden doctor’s appointments, Requests for favors from other 004-stock-photo-owriters, etc., came into the mix. Obviously I survived. I haven’t yet finished my revision, though.

I have another week’s worth of hard slog to get it to the edit stage. It should already have been on the edit board. I got one submission out. I have two more to get through edit and out before the end of the month. I’m behind on my posts here and on 2Voices1Song.

In other words, I’m way out of balance—again. And I was doing so well there for a while.

I will admit disappointment in myself—I couldn’t stem the landslide and fell off my balance board. I slid only two weeks, however. That’s better that ever before. And the trick was in how I refocused.

Ewam PoolMy  re-focus technique was fairly simple. I mirrored what others were asking of me. I sent impending work out to nonlocal writers for critique.  That gave me a quicker evaluation to use for edits when I got to them this week. I used every spare moment of quiet time to consider where my novella manuscript needed certain attention and jotted down thoughts and solutions. Doctor’s waiting rooms are great for that.

I did a minimum to satisfy every other demand, while still getting a chapter or two reworked in Wisher’s World each day.

Most of all, I threw perfectionism out the window and allowed myself the downtime I really needed.

Digital composition of a female face / one of four elements: fire

Digital composition of a female face / one of four elements: fire

The result wasn’t stellar, but it got the jobs done. I got the first short story out to its competition, I revised thirteen chapters in Wisher’s World and added a new chapter. I wrote some good poetry for five days and created modified Haiga posters. Along the way, I made a few new friends and picked up a large, new project to be developed soon.

007-stock-photo-wI’ve been hiking, went along on a short fishing expedition this morning, enjoyed the company of others, and kept as decompressed as I could. A day away, once a week, has become necessary.

My focus is back. The balance board is on its roller. My calendar needs tweaking because of projects rearranged or modified. But I’m not stressed over any of it anymore.

The only things left on my docket for today is a quick revision of one chapter, pulling out another short story to begin edit work on for submission, and working on a cover for my next chapbook. It’s slated to for release at the end of the month.

And in case you’re wondering, I’m still only working on material I have in backlog. That’s my only solid goal for the year and maybe even into next year.

If you have similar problems keeping your focus, share with others. Drop a comment below and tell me about your struggle with focus. We’re all rowing boats on the ocean.

Have a great rest of the week, peeps, and a fantastic weekend ahead.

 

 

 

Poetry Chain 5-Day Challenge

Today was day 2 of the Poetry Chain Challenge for June, created by a Facebook group to which I happen to belong.

The challenge is for each nominated poet to provide one poem per day for five days. Along with the poem, said poet must nominate another poet to begin the challenge. As you can imagine, the round-up gets a bit chaotic as best and a free-for-all otherwise. We’ve hit free-for-all this week.

The marvelous poet Jane Shlensky nominated me and I have kept up my end of the bargain.

Yesterday I posted here with the poster created about dreams, wishes, and worlds. Today, my offering is all about writing poetry. It seemed apropos. I hope you enjoy it.

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I’ll be back tomorrow with another offering for the threshold of the poetry door.

Have a great night, everyone.

Writing—Starting from Scratch

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A few days ago, a gal came to me for help. She wanted to begin writing but didn’t know where to start. She asked if I could/would help her.

This case isn’t unusual. Few beginning writers know where to start on the road toward publication. I did what I always do in this situation—I asked several questions to define the boundaries this would-be writer wanted to work with at the beginning.

Questions for the beginning writer:

  1. What kind of writing do you want to pursue? Fiction, non-fiction (including memoir), educational, inspirational, novel-length, poetry, etc.
  2. What’s the purpose behind your writing desire? Do you want to make extra money? Is this more a hobby for personal satisfaction where monetary gain is secondary to the work itself? Again, this makes a big difference in effort and in direction.
  3. What is the final goal of your desire to write? That’s going to be the hardest to pinpoint.
  4. All of these questions bring us back to–what type of writing do you want to do? Children’s’, adult, romance, Christian, science fiction, fantasy, etc. These are a major consideration.

abstract-medical-background_My3tatDOAnswering these four questions is paramount to beginning a serious stab at putting words to paper for others to read. For this particular newbie, fear didn’t come into it. She’d written pieces before for community newsletters and the like. She wanted more in-depth structure to the path than she had already experienced.

Left with this homework, she was satisfied to stand at the trailhead to her future. She could give me one answer immediately. She wanted to write memoir/inspirational pieces—not just to tell her story, but also with the potential to help others going through similar life lessons.

compass-vector_MywT8Ww_Following the trail requires direction and signposts. Armed with the desired genre, I could point her toward additional research homework. I advised her to look through the following resources for how they could help her hone both her desires and her craft.

  1. National Assoc. of Memoir Writers: http://namw.org/ Specialty organization for education/networking/publication
  2. The Writer Magazine: http://www.writermag.com/. Marketing lists of publications, contests & Competitions, plus educational  material
  3. Writer’s Digest Magazine: http://www.writersdigest.com/. Marketing/education/contests
  4. Blog Her: http://www.blogher.com/. Networking with other women writers of all stripes, forums, opportunities
  5. She Writes: http://www.shewrites.com/. Networking with other women writers, forums, publishing, etc.

Once this newbie spends time sorting through what’s on offer at these sites, she’ll have a better handle on what’s possible for her immediately and what’s still on the needs list.

Close up of glasses on research concept

Close up of glasses on research concept

Each genre has its own needs, craft secrets, and markets. Memoir and inspirational writing is no different. This groundwork is necessary for anyone who wants to pursue the trail to publication.

As we go through this process, I’ll post here on the ground covered and the signposts along the way. Others can use this same information for their own journey. I hope it can point the way for any who are confused or unsure of their direction.

And on that note, I’m going to leave you with a poem poster I did today for a poetry challenge from one of my groups on Facebook. Enjoy.

Earth Sunrise and Milky Way Illustration. First Sun Lights. Space Illustrations Collection.

Earth Sunrise and Milky Way Illustration. First Sun Lights. Space Illustrations Collection.

 

At Home—Getting Ready to Launch

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Writers launch new books, or stories at least. But what does it really mean “to launch”?

To answer that, I must give the preceding questions: What is being launched and how long is it? And, will the project be an e-book or go the traditional route? I’m going to deal with only e-books and self-publishing here.

The project in question is of paramount importance. If it’s a short story, chapbook of poetry or fiction, or essay/article, the writer may or may not prefer to have the manuscript go through a professional copyeditor and formatter, before it’s uploaded and released for public consumption on Kindle, Nook, or Apple, or other devices.

stack-of-books-on-white-background-vector-illustration_z1m6_xvdLengthier projects, such as novellas, complete books of short stories poetry, and novels are usually regarded as needing professional treatment. Copyeditors and formatters are very necessary for those going the traditional route and for longer projects for e-books.

In the case of my small flash fiction chapbook, I don’t necessarily need or want to spend the extra money to have it formatted by a pro. I can do the copyediting myself on this, too.

My chapbook has stories carrying a common thread. The first three stories hover at approximately 500 words. The last story, written specifically for this effort, runs twice that length. Call it an anchoring story. As a sample of my style in macabre flash fiction, these give the reader a taste of my slightly darker side. This is only one example of what’s possible.

Long before editing is complete and formatting has begun, the writer needs to create a marketing/promotion plan. This Sales Or Marketing Directions On A Signpostcan be as simple as telling all of your readers, friends, and family that you’re going to put out a new book on X-date and would they please have a look at it. It can also get complicated, far-reaching, and expensive.

Think book cover before all else. Why? Because it takes some time to decide if you’re doing your own or having one made for you. That’s when you get to find one you like. Once you have your masterpiece image, start showing it to everyone. The more people who see it, the more serious you’re taken.

Consider creating a book trailer for YouTube, your website, and social media release for any project that will be close to or full length books. Post it everywhere you can and ask others to post it for their readers. Never underestimate the power of contacts.

Professional promoters and publicists are available for a fee. If the writer doesn’t want to deal with the additional headaches of promoting their own work, or are on a very limited budget, there are other avenues to pursue to get cheap or free publicity to the masses.

3d-web-mail-icons-set_M1yerad_However, guest blogging will get your work in front of readers who wouldn’t normally know anything about you. Getting yourself interviewed on other writers’ blogs will have the same effect. Paying a monthly membership fee for services, such as HooteSuite, can allow you to set up automated postings on group sites, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter at regular intervals without getting frazzled.

Other options for promotion are also available. There are groups on Facebook who promote writers and writing. Most social media avenues have such groups. There are also specific online media promoters. Author’s Marketing Club promotes both e-books and print, which are offered for FREE for limited days. Their subscriber list is extensive.

Indies Unlimited is another resource which can offer opportunities for promotion on a limited budget/free. Author and Book Promotion, http://www.author-promotion.com/newsletter.html, has a regular terrific newsletter. Another site is “Off the Shelf” at https://offtheshelfbookpromotions.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/how-to-sell-more-books-start-a-national-awareness-day-with-flash-fiction-writer-calum-kerr/

Many more are available for those who do a search on “promotion for writers”. Don’t forget sites like Goodreads.

004-stock-photo-oChoosing when to launch for a self-published effort is strictly up to the writer. You can set a deadline for completing the writing, another for editing and formatting, and still another for uploading.

The key is keeping all of your ducks swimming in the same direction at an even pace.

Once you’ve chosen a deadline, remind everyone again that the launch is happening on X-date. Then, meet that deadline.

After your initial launch, you can decide if you want to use free promotion-sales days on your e-book. If you do, you can leave those freebie days until a month or so after launch to give sales a boost and to remind readers that it’s worth reading.

Work In Progress Sign Held By Construction WorkerNow you’re off and running. If you’ve chosen to use services like HooteSuite, which is affordable at approximately $10 per month,  you can set regular reminders about your book(s) to post to whatever site/group you’ve got on your list of promoters. All you have to do now is the rinse and repeat phases for the next project.

Me? After I get this one out, I have several more sitting in the wings waiting their turn. I’m going to be busy for a while. And no, I’m still waiting for my cover art. You can now see why I emphasized that angle.

Good luck making your choices and in setting up your new writing lifestyle. Let me know how things are going for you. I really am interested.

At Home Revisions, Competitions and Coursework

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted. My time has been spent taking care of work.

I’ve been hip-deep in revisions. Thanks to one of my local writing groups’ February challenge, Dreamie’s Box is on track to be finished soon and on its way out the door in March. Along with that novel are much shorter pieces, undergoing the editing process for competitions.

Contests/competitions come in all shapes and sizes. Some provide a literary agent as part of the prize package. Others stock-photo-24have hefty monetary prizes. All have purpose and rewards–even those little ones that provide only copies of your work and online recognition to your peers.

Ultimately, though, the grand prize for each competition is the writer’s knowledge that the time spent has gone toward a worthwhile purpose. New or refurbish—hitherto unpublished—material has left the computer drive and been read by someone else. For many, that’s a huge step.

Another purpose is one of confidence building. The act of sending out a story, poem, article, or what have you builds another layer of confidence in one’s ability to stick with a writing goal and complete it.

One of the major truths that smacked me in the head a few weeks ago is this.

The reason I write isn’t for fame or fortune. I would write if no U.S.A.one ever read a word I’d put on paper. But, aside from that inherent need to put thoughts and feelings into words, I simply want to know that at least one other person has read my work. If they like it, that’s a bonus. If they don’t and they let me know why, I’ve learned something important. I win either way.

To that effect, I’m preparing manuscripts to go out. Chapbooks, poetry, short stories, and flash fiction all come under the editing pen.

Three pieces are due to go out within the next two weeks. Two more are slated for the end of March and another for April. The investment of time and a tiny fee are worth the wait to learn whether one’s writing is prize quality in its specific completion with its specific judges.

If a prize has my name on it at the end is, in many ways, irrelevant. I’ve met a goal, had at least one reader, made at least one impression, and furthered my writing experience.

Work In Progress Sign Held By Construction WorkerAs for the coursework, I have three active writing courses in which to indulge. I wrangle stories for those courses and get to use them for publication or competition. I’ve always been a big believer in dual-purpose work.

One of those courses is strictly for flash fiction. With burgeoning markets for much shorter fiction, this avenue is also one of the most technically demanding. And it’s a competitive form I’ve placed in before.

Another course is for serial short fiction—short story to novella length. The demands here are also a major challenge. The writer begins with a whole world plot line that would normally extend to three or more volumes in length. It’s then segmented into a series of complete episodes. Each episode must further the overall plot line while telling a separate, shorter plot line with one or more of the entire story’s major characters.

The third course works only with character development and utilization. You can see where these three work together to build an overall writing experience and a unique opportunity to work in multiple genres and publishing avenues.

Happy Girl Making A Wish And Making BubblesFor now, that’s enough for me. So, tell me–what are you up to and why? Share your story in a comment.

 

 

At Home with Malaise

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These past weeks, since the middle of July, have been difficult ones. If you’ve never suffered from burnout, you’ve been blessed beyond measure.

Where does malaise come into it? Well, for me, malaise is my first real symptom of burnout. When a hermitage in the deep forest forms as my strongest desire, I’m in trouble. I’ve been here a few times. Experience has taught me the depths and stages of the condition. I can survive this episode without much damage. I don’t have to seek the forest this time.

I do have to make changes to my routine and my lifestyles, though, if I’m going to continue with a writing career. That much is certain.

And that, peeps, is what I’ve been dealing with while away from here. Family pressures have added to the mix, but then, everyone has those. Right? Right.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow that I’ve acknowledged the real situation, determined the culprit/causal factors, and chosen to attack the problem, I can make positive changes. You see, one of the major difficulties with burnout is that the sufferer doesn’t recognize the situation until it’s well-advanced. Others may see the problem, but convincing the sufferer isn’t easy—especially when that person is as stubborn as I am.

Yep, you guessed it. I’m one of those who’s been taught that I can conquer anything given enough time and dedication. As a result, my competitive streak eggs me on to take on more and more work, more interests, and less sleep than is good for me. I just know that I can cram in a bit more of something into my work schedule if I push a wee bit harder.

As a result of that attitude, I’m sitting here, having to force myself to write anything and connect with anyone, etc. I can’t afford to take that attitude. Establishing a new normal for me will take time—time I don’t want to take. Patience with myself must be established.

You now know why I’ve been absent. Not just from here and my other website, but from media in general. Coming out of hibernation is slow and painful. Personal reinvention is never easy, but it can be done.

stock-002-017You might ask how I’ve begun the process. I’ve chosen to take a focused, deliberate route to burnout recovery. I’ll continue with my face-to-face critique group each week. Being with those fantastic people each week has held me together for nearly two months. I’m working on one small story for them at the moment, one written with agonizing slowness. Oddly enough, it’s one of my best efforts ever.

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Courtesy of BJ Jones Photography

I’ve taken the time to sit and read—really read, as both writer and reader. The activity keeps me in the literature groove but demands little of me. I’ve needed to make this particular connection again for a long time. I have to say that getting a Kindle and taking advantage of special websites has giving me more than sufficient selection of reading material and kept my costs to a minimum.

I’ve advanced and expanded my interests through YouTube—for music and documentary-style information gathering—and reading in unexplored genres. Story ideas are sparking constantly now and allowing Muse to integrate and extrapolate from all the input. Those ideas go in a folder for consideration sometime later, probably as flash fiction.

Several projects await completion, as well. Those will be covered one at a time. I’ve decided to focus only on one current story and one revision each month. Anything else is speculation and not meant for serious work.

This is the only way I can pull myself out of burnout and reduce my malaise. I can’t afford to spiral further down and refuse to give up and become a hermit. I have too many friends, many of them here, who won’t let me give up. Bless them all.

stock-003-025So there you have it—my reason for disappearance. What will I do here on the site? Let’s see.

I have something percolating in the hind-brain—something for later and which has floated in Muse’s lotus pond for a few years. I’ll talk about that at a later date. I need some additional recupe time and preparations before I outline it.

I will be doing a few book reviews in the coming weeks. Fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. I will also do a few articles about aspects of writing that might not get talked about very often. I’m not up to contest standards and won’t be for a while, I’m afraid.

For many of you, this situation comes with little surprise. Some of you have mentioned my self-imposed workload throughout the year. I’m so glad you stuck with me.

004-stock-photo-oExpect something on the site at least once a week from now on. It could be anything, including an excerpt from whatever I happen to be working on at the moment. I have two novellas that are in revision stages right now—slow revisions.

stock-003-006Take care all. Don’t follow in my footsteps too closely. Give yourself a break at least a couple of times a day to relax, laugh, and talk with friends/family. Go outside and see the sky, if for no other reason than to get an accurate weather report. I’ll see you again soon. Happy writing.

 

At Home with the Home Stretch

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How’s everyone doing with their chosen July challenges? What? You didn’t take up a July challenge? How did you manage that?

Huh! You’re a stronger person than I am, Gunga Din. One of the personal quirks that I’ve come to appreciate (notice the thought verb here) about myself is that I must have a challenge going at all times.

Take this month, for instance. I’m doing three—two writing and one home. Camp NaNoWriMo has me writing a novella (yes, I’d already done one just before,) which takes care of the prose portion of my life. Creative Bloomings Camp Granada Daily Poem Challenge for verse centered on camping and the outdoors caters to the poetic side of my nature.

My home challenge is to get my bedroom/office cleared out, sorted, and rearranged for better use of space.

People who know me know that I spend long days at the computer. Ask my sister and she’ll tell you that I have little enough life outside of writing. I tend to agree with that assessment. I’m a bit OCD about writing.

Hence the constant challenges.

If you asked me why I’m this way, I’d say it’s because I denied myself that outlet for so many years and that I’m trying to make up for lost time. All of those story ideas and poems were repressed for too long and finally found an escape clause in their repression contract.

Forest PathPoor old Wisher’s World is a series that’s been aching to emerge from its cocoon for several years now. It finally began its process in July. By the end of the month I’ll have the first episode finished and ready for revision and final edit.

Lake Bowman CampThe poetry challenge allows impressions, experiences, and even dreams to be captured in lyric form and shared with my poets’ community. I keep my hand in and mind open at the same time.

Okay—I admit it. I’ve fallen down on that job for this past week or so. I must take one day this week and catch up with those poems I haven’t done each day, as well as read all of those poems that were written by other members of that same community. Not a hardship by any means, merely a task for those late-night decompression hours.

calendars-6888067You may be wondering why I do multiple challenges simultaneously. Here’s where the real confession comes in. I’m a challenge junkie. I can’t seem to pass them up. And no, I didn’t used to be like this. What I found was that when challenged, I kept moving forward, kept learning.

The challenge doesn’t have to be writing oriented. I also try to learn at least one new (to me) crochet stitch or technique each week. Beaded jewelry comes into the same category as the crochet. 

I’m always involved in a study course or two–some semester or year-long, some lasting only a few weeks.

My face-to-face critique group keeps my thought processes flexible, too, and adds to learning new things from those around me. We usually have separate genres represented for each of us–six in all. And styles vary as much as genre.

Now you know some of the whys and wherefores.

My tally for the month so far? I’ve got over 35K words written on my novella. Revision and edit will bring the final word count back down to novella length. I’ll cut at least three chapters worth of text by the end of the process. I must also write eight poems today/tomorrow to catch up on the poetry challenge.

As for my bedroom/office, it’s the most difficult task. It requires that I disassemble my office for the time it takes to do all of the work. We’re talking a couple of days. I may have to slack off on that challenge until August. I’m not saying I will, just that it’s a thought.

My home stretch will come down to determination, as with all races. Before anyone asks, I don’t ever beat myself up if I don’t complete a challenge in the allotted time. For me, it really is the journey, the personal nudge toward production, and (in this case) the reality that once August arrives, my only tasks for the next five months will be in the revision aspect of work.

You see, that’s my next challenge. Each month, from August 1 until January 1, I will concentrate on the full revision, edit, and submission of one or two existing projects.

If I can manage that, I can manage anything. I’ll be posting the occasional progress report amid regular posts to encourage you and to seek snippets of your completed work.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back in a day or so with another excerpt from my project. Feedback is always welcome. See you soon. Happy writing, all.

At Home with Melanie Marttila’s Blog Tour

I’ve been privileged this month to work with several enterprising and talented women writers.

This is a business where friendships spontaneously develop within moments or hours, and with poets, the practice is common. I’m not sure whether the reason for such rapid connection is strictly due to shared verses so much as the mindset of those dealing in verse.

Melanie MartillaToday’s blog tour connection exemplifies that question. Melanie Marttila is an interesting personality. Sassy and savvy, Melanie takes no prisoners. She doesn’t have to. Readers are eager to see what she’s writing.

Melanie admits to the possibility of multiple personality disorder. Hey, don’t get alarmed. She’s a writer. We all have that tendency. If you see her talking to herself, well, she’s running dialogue or working on a new presentation for her corporate trainer job. She has one, you know.

She began writing at a young age. At age seven, she submitted her first story to CBC’s “Pencil Box.”  After that early success, Melanie took some time off to attend school. Since then, she’s become a published poet and an award-winning short story writer.  She’s a member of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild   and a professional member of the Canadian Authors Association.

In 1999, she received her MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Windsor.  Currently, and concurrently, she’s working as a learning and development professional, writing several novels and short stories, and developing her platform.

Melanie calls herself an Ink Alchemist and epic fantasy novelist-in-progress. She has three stories out this year: “The Broken Places” in the June issue of Bastion Science Fiction Magazine, “On the Ferry” in the When Words Collide anthology, and “Downtime” in the fall 2014 issue of On Spec.

I highly recommend that you pop in on her Writerly Goodness at: http://www.melaniemarttila.ca/

Melanie’s blog tour post will come up on her site Saturday afternoon, so please stop in and visit with my friend and colleague. She’ll have you chuckling for a while and then you’ll click her like button and make her even happier.

Also this weekend, I’ll have a chance to share an excerpt with you all from the first stand-alone book I’m writing for my fantasy series, Wisher’s World. I hope you’ll join me for that.

I want feedback on it. Readers’ interpretations and suggestions are always welcome. Whether they get used or not, the feedback always influences a writer’s direction.

Until then, happy writing.

At Home with Our Poetry Contest Winner

Contest winner

Contest winner

Folks, we have a winner! Yes, Linda Evans Hofke and I could finally decide on a prize winner for June’s Haiga Contest.

Let me say up front that coming to a decision was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in a very long time. I don’t envy professional poetry judges at all.

The problem? We had so many exquisite entries to choose from. Narrowing them down to five was a major challenge. Getting down to three was excruciating. In the end, Linda and I agreed on the top three—they’d earned those positions, fair and square.

Reducing the short list to one was the killer. It came to a toss of a coin between the top two. A winner and a runner-up.

Drum roll, please. The winner of June 2014 Haiga Contest is: expressivedomain4h for the following haiku.

Haiku (by expressivedomain4h, aka TBD)

Deep rooted hedges,
reflecting in warmth, transform
when old beliefs fade

This excellent verse holds to the true sense of Haiku and uses the image of garden cherubs to the fullest. The opening line sets the tone, for the image has thick, tall hedges, and any thriving hedge must have deep roots. The obvious is stated.

The second line uses the light and color in the image to bring the reader into the warmth of the day, but also to enfold the reader into the warmth of the scene and the protection of the hedges already mentioned. It also sets up the last line twist with the word “transform.”

And what a sensational twist. The poem circles back to bring in “old beliefs.” The comparison of faded beliefs and transformed hedges makes its own statement of changes made in a life cycle; whether a life cycle of a garden or a belief structure, both of which can keep a person warm and comfortable.

The poet here can have a huge difference in interpretation to mine, but this is how the poem struck me.

From a different slant, poet Nurit Israeli brought a more ephemeral and spiritual verse for us.

Haiku (by Nurit Israeli)

Angels − grounded to
earthly garden of Eden −
still dreaming of wings…

This seeming simplistic haiku says so much to the reader. Cherubs are considered angels, it’s true. The image portrays three of them, standing in a garden atop a stone bench—grounded. They have no wings that we can see and appear to be looking around, as if waiting for something to happen.

This seemingly literal translation of the image allows the reader to imagine the idea of angels waiting for promotion to wings, and doing so in an “earthly garden of Eden.” And isn’t that how many people think of our time on earth—merely waiting for our time to go home (Heaven) to receive our “wings” after having lived a good life?

Again, whether the poet intended that interpretation of the verse doesn’t negate its validity.

And there you have it. Our winner and our runner-up.

To the winner I say, please contact me with your name, address, and other pertinent information so that I may send you your prize. I’m looking forward to finding out who this anonymous poet is.

To the runner-up, Nurit Israeli, I say “Congratulations.” Linda and I decided that you, too, should have a prize. You are asked to select any one of the Haiga examples I posted during the month of June as your prize. We will send you a print of that Haiga poster, suitable for framing. I’ll need your mailing information as well.

Again, Linda and I want to thank everyone who entered a haiku poem for our little contest. You make our job of judging very painful, but delightful as well. With the kind of fantastic talent shown last month, I can truthfully say that each of the participants have won my respect and admiration.

The prizes will go out as soon as I have all of the proper mailing information.

I’ll be back tomorrow to showcase the next poet/writer on the Virtual Blog Tour. Until then, happy writing, everyone. Be bold, be honest, and be happy.

 

At Home with Ina Roy-Faderman’s Blog Tour

If you’ve ever wanted to meet an interesting person/writer, now’s your chance. I’ve been wandering around the blog-o-sphere for a few years now, working on poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Along the way, I’ve met some fascinating folks. Ina is one of those people.

Ina HeadshotIna Roy-Faderman and her writing partner Andrea Heiberg of Denmark, ran a friendly poetry competition. It was Andrea’s brainchild and several poets jumped into it with both feet. We each got to partner a child(ren) to co-write poetry to prompts.

I had no children close to me who could play, so I was paired with a 13 year old Danish girl. That experience remains one of my most vivid. Writing with any child is a challenge, but writing in two languages and doing translation to boot is a true gauntlet dropper. I had a blast.

Ina had her own diminutive partner by her side. We all played each week, grabbing the prompt and communicating back and forth—regardless of language differences—until we came up with something each paired partner could put out there. I don’t remember what pair placed where. It didn’t matter to me who won. We all had a terrifically entertaining and educational time of it.

Throughout it all, Ina did the monitoring and admin work on the site and kept everyone on the path. But that’s the kind of thing Ina does. She jumps in, whole hog, and wades through everything to the end. Take her educational background, for instance.

She received her formal creative writing training through the English Department at Stanford University.  She was also completing an M.D. at the time and starting a Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley. You don’t get much more committed than that. The necessary energy level alone is immense. She wrote her poetry and fiction in odd, spare moments, and worked at keeping up her website. Not easy for many writers with outside commitments. Ina, though, is an smart and determined lady.

Her poetry and fiction have appeared or will be appearing in Pif Magazine, Writer’s Digest Magazine, Danny Shot’s Long Shot, and Right Hand Pointing.

She lives near San Francisco, where she teaches for the Philosophy Department at Oregon State University. She continues to write, herds her unruly family, and has plans to get sleep any day now.

For those who’d like to see more of Ina and catch her blog tour post, travel on over to her website “In Our Books.” She’ll be posting her own “writing process” tomorrow. Don’t miss it.

Thank you so much, Ina, for gracing the tour with your valuable time and marvelous talent. We’re all made greater for it.

Melanie MartillaThe last of my blog tour writers will come along in a few days. Melanie Martilla has a weekend slot for the readers’ pleasure. She, too, has plenty writerly goodness to offer the writing zone. Stay tuned for that profile and link.

And to round out this post, a little more anticipation. As you all know, I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month, which many of you may be doing as well. I decided I’d give everyone a taste of the book I’m working on. Thursday, I’ll post a short excerpt of “Wisher’s World: Episode 1 Composing an Apprentice.” You’ll have a chance to tell me what you think, ask questions, make suggestions, etc.

Until I see you then, happy writing, ll. Save a word or two back when you end the day to have for a fire starter tomorrow. TTFN